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Industry participation needed for National Outreach Programme on FTAs Print E-mail
Written by Ganesh   
Saturday, 20 August 2011
New Delhi: Dr. Rahul Khullar, Commerce Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that in negotiation of FTAs, the government seeks to consult the stakeholders both before and afterwards. The process of stakeholder consultation has been institutionalized. He was speaking at the Second Export Summit organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Talking about the sensitivities involved in the course of an FTA negotiation, Dr. Khullar said that in order to avoid any misinterpretation by the media, details of the FTA/CEPA negotiations are revealed only after the deal is finalized.

Twenty years ago, Free Trade Agreements were almost inconceivable in India, said Dr. Rahul Khullar. He said that unilateral tariff reductions were undertaken not because it was imposed on us either by the WTO or the trading partners but was beneficial for the economy and facilitated trade. He added that it led to change in the rules of engagement with the world. However, tariffs on items of commercial interest to India such as gems and jewellery have not been lowered in the developed world.

Dr. Rahul Khullar said that India remained multilateral until 2000 but began taking initial steps towards FTA and CECA negotiations in 2004. In terms of the geographical dimensions to signing FTAs, the emphasis has so far been on Asia. FTAs have been signed with nations such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Korea and regional groupings such as ASEAN. High growth rate, huge market opportunities and depressed economic conditions in the industrial economies are the key drivers of negotiating FTAs with the emerging nations.

Dhruv M Sawhney, Past President, CII said that India has made continuous efforts towards signing of trade agreements. Around 10 FTAs, 5 PTAs are in place and 16 more trade agreements are under negotiation. FTAs are a win-win situation for both the signing nations. Exporters from all the segments, small, medium and large benefit from these. Besides goods, he emphasized the need to include services within the ambit of FTAs.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 20 August 2011 )
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